Scott Kelby's Holiday Gift List


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and this is what I’m getting for my photo-loving friends and colleagues this season!

Lastolite 1-stop Diffuser

If you want your outdoor portraits to have beautiful light, put this diffuser between your subject and the sun and you’ll be amazed at the results. Plus, the built-in handle makes it really easy to use.

Wacom Pro Small

This “Small” version is perfect for anybody who travels, because it’ll fit right in your laptop bag, but beyond that, the small size is great for just about any photographer or designer. Ask any photographer who owns a tablet, they could never even dream of going back to a mouse. Yes, it makes that big a difference.

Click product images below for more information.

Nikon 28-300mm or Tamron 28-300mm (for Canon shooters)

If you do travel or street photography, you’ll love having one lens that does it all, because finally you’ll always have the "right" lens on the camera when you need it; from wide angle, to portrait length, or a tight zoom. The Nikon-brand version (for Nikon cameras, obviously) is incredibly sharp, and it’s not too heavy at all. Canon makes a version but it’s very heavy, very large, very expensive, and not well suited to walking about, so for the Canon shooter, try the Tamron 28-300mm. It’s not as sharp as Nikon or Canon lenses, but it’s 1/2 the price of the Nikon and 1/4 the price of the Canon version.

Canon Close-up Lens (for Nikon and Canon)

It’s probably the only product Canon makes for use on Nikon cameras, but that’s because it screws right onto the end of your existing regular lens (like a 1” thick filter) to turn it into a wonderful Macro lens, and the price starts at around $48 (the price depends on the diameter of your lens).

Canon EOS 70D Camera

Of all the DSLRs out there right now, I think this is the best value because, although it’s marketed as a camera for serious amateurs, it not only has many pro features but has some features the pro cameras don’t have yet. Plus, the built-in video features are just amazing.

Westcott Rapid Box and Deflector Plate

Beauty dishes are the rage right now, and so are hot-shoe flashes, and this lets you get a beauty-dish look from your hot-shoe flash in a pop-up kit that makes the whole thing portable (carrying around a metal beauty dish just doesn’t make sense with hot-shoe flash). Really well designed and built.

Click product images below for more information.

Impact Quickbox Softbox Kit

This is the same rig I’m using on my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour, and the person on your gift list will think you spent twice as much. It’s a pop-up (collapsible) softbox, flash mount, tilt-swivel head, and a light stand for a comparatively reasonable price.

Kata LPS 216 DL Backpack

I’m not really a backpack guy (I’m more of a rolling bags guy instead), but what I loved about this one was that it wasn't big and bulky, yet it still held a lot of gear and even my laptop. The interiors are bright yellow so you can actually find stuff. Really well made and the price makes it my favorite photo-gear backpack ever!

Pocket Wizard Plus X

PocketWizard has always been the gold standard in wireless triggers for flash or even for firing remote cameras, but the best is always expensive. But this year, they came out with a new budget-priced model (you need two—one for your camera, one for your flash), called the Plus X, and it’s got the ruggedness, range, and quality without the high price. They’re simple and they work.

Sigma 15mm Fisheye

It's not a lens you use every day, but when you use it, it really has impact. If the photographer on your list shoots sports, weddings, or travel, they will be psyched to see this with super-wide-angle fisheye lens with a red bow around it. Plus, it's significantly cheaper than the Nikon or Canon brand fisheyes, but it's sharp and works great.

Click product images below for more information.

A Trip to Page, Arizona

If the photographer on your holiday gift list has ever thought about getting into landscape photography, how about a trip to Page, Arizona (you’d probably fly into Phoenix or Flagstaff and drive to Page from there)? Book a room at the Courtyard by Marriott and make it your home base for shooting for four or five days. This is landscape paradise, featuring the Antelope Canyon Slots, Horseshoe Bend, and another half dozen or so epic locations, from the Vermillion Cliffs to Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, all within driving distance.

Apple iPad Air

This is probably the most convenient and beautiful way for a photographer to share their portfolio images one-on-one, plus the Apps available for it are just endless. For a photographer these days, this is an incredible tool (not to mention the fact that you can check your email, read books, surf the Web, play games, and all the rest). This is a tablet you have to hold in your hand to really appreciate how thin, lightweight, and super fast it is. The best iPad ever.

8-stop ND filter from Tiffen

If your photographer is into long exposure black-and-white images (and it’s a decent bet that she/he is), then slap one of these puppies on your gift list and they’ll be shooting long exposures at the seaside at two o'clock in the afternoon.

Oben Travel Tripod

These days everybody wants a lightweight, small easy-to-use full-height tripod, but they are normally very expensive, or not tall enough, or not sturdy enough, but this carbon fiber travel tripod from Oben is all that, and at a price you can afford. Its compact size and light weight means the photographer on your wish list is more likely to use it, which means their photos will look sharper, which makes you both heroes.

Wishing everyone all good things,


Scott Kelby is a world-renowned photo educator and author, and founder of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). Learn more at

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the travel tripod is a great idea. but if you are willing to give up 10 inches of height you can also lose a pound of weight and $230 of cost and go with the Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10 Ball Head which is otherwise very similar.

Where's the love for Sony users?